Natalie Noble and her boyfriend Bobby Lindsey

Natalie Noble / TikTok

‘Um honey that’s grooming’: Popular TikToker sparks concern after revealing her boyfriend was her tennis coach in viral video

'I feel like this shouldn’t be romanticized.'

 

Samira Sadeque

Internet Culture

Published May 13, 2021   Updated May 22, 2021, 11:18 am CDT

A popular TikToker recently shared a video celebrating her relationship, prompting viewers to accuse her boyfriend of “grooming” her.

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The video was posted by 19-year-old Natalie Noble, who has nearly 80,000 followers on the platform, on April 19. The video has since been viewed over 3.7 million times. In the video, Noble reveals how she and her boyfriend, who is 29 years older than her, met. Her boyfriend, Bobby Lindsey, is 48 years old.

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The video features several clips and photos of the couple, starting with a photo of the two on what appears to be a tennis court. “Unfortunately… He was my tennis coach,” text across the photo reads.

While the couple declined the Daily Dot’s interview request, both Noble and Lindsey denied “any allegations of grooming” and pointed the Daily Dot to a Q&A they conducted about their relationship.

In the viral TikTok video, the TikToker notes they “lost contact for a few months” after she graduated high school but eventually “reconnected through text.”

“Over time our friendship gradually grew deeper,” the video’s text reads. “We then got to the point where we couldn’t deny our feelings for each other any longer.”

“A year later we couldn’t be more happy,” she writes, including some more photos and clips of the two falling asleep, vacationing, and sharing meals.  

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“Love happens when you least expect it…. to say the least,” she wrote in the caption of the video, including the hashtags: #agegaprelationship #agegaplove.

https://www.tiktok.com/@natalienoble13/video/6953016764301069573?_d=secCgYIASAHKAESMgowTJRrrNXeGz5SF1FJrivev1KAimmQqGlryJAUQxdcK8zCczPVUz9Gih%2BDX%2FjfopU7GgA%3D&language=en&preview_pb=0&sec_user_id=MS4wLjABAAAANNkFxIzFXbNmTQYwIXOhyo_0AdaufCArN1oWGwrVUsJgLsQT8tJXjqQhLdUrQgM_&share_app_id=1233&share_item_id=6953016764301069573&share_link_id=47D7F271-1D69-4E34-BD96-43D7FE951B00&source=h5_m&timestamp=1620930690&tt_from=copy&u_code=da47b296d25ej6&user_id=6775740175021622277&utm_campaign=client_share&utm_medium=ios&utm_source=copy&_r=1&is_copy_url=0&is_from_webapp=v1&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6893569900292965894

However, many viewers are criticizing the relationship and are accusing Lindsey of “grooming” Noble.

“Something about how you guys met makes me uncomfy,” wrote one user. 

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“Um honey that’s gr00ming,” wrote another.

“I feel like this shouldn’t be romanticized,” a third said.

One even apologized to the TikToker. “I’m so sorry, you were gro0med,” they wrote.

Many also said that the “age difference isn’t the problem,” it’s how the couple met that’s the problem.

“I think the fact that u guys met when u were still in hs makes it a lil unsettling,” one wrote.

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“It’s not the age gap.. it’s the fact you were conditioned and think this is okay… you don’t even realize it,” another said.

“It’s not the age gap, it’s you met when you were still a minor in HS. I’m uncomfortable,” another commented.

The couple had a few defenders. “How do y’all know that maybe she had a crush on him and than (sic) reached out to him when she was of age?!” wrote one user, expressing they had a crush on a teacher once. 

The criticism only intensified after screenshots of TikTok video were shared to Twitter. “Okay that’s enough tik tok for tonight,” the viral tweet posted on April 21 reads.

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The criticism hasn’t deterred Noble from posting more videos about their relationship, and she appears to be a proponent of age gap relationships, including in her bio: “Age Gap Love.”

A followup video posted a few days after the initial video, titled “What it’s like dating younger girl,” shows their relationship from Lindsey’s perspective.  

https://www.tiktok.com/@natalienoble13/video/6953769029920099589?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1
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The couple also runs a YouTube channel, “Against the Grain,” where they post videos about their experiences as a couple with such a large age gap. 

In a detailed video on the channel, the two talk about how Noble was grieving her parents’ divorce when the two met. Noble said that they discussed the divorce a bit throughout their friendship and that they would “text on-and-off” in a “friendship kind of way.” They said that they were not interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with one another at the time.

They both said the pandemic then accelerated their relationship. “I feel like right now, we really are meant to be together, but I definitely think it would’ve been later if COVID wouldn’t have happened,” Noble said.

The Daily Mail reports the couple is based out of Kentucky and that their families do not approve of their relationship. The outlet also reports that Lindsey’s daughter was on the same tennis team as Noble.

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*First Published: May 13, 2021, 9:38 pm CDT